A snippet of Family Law 5

“The Foys are requesting our further assistance in providing a facilities manager for their embassy,” the First Mother announced over breakfast to the Second and Third Mum. “What are your thoughts on that?”

“I wish the Badgers had done so,” the Third Mother said. “I’d like some eyes and ears on the inside there to know about any problems early on.”

“The Badgers and Bills left a lot more staff for their embassy, and Queen Heather just sent the Foys. I do wonder why they didn’t send any support people?” the Second Mother said. “I think we are getting off cheaply to support them, compared to what it would cost us to mount a system defense. Haven’t the Badgers hired any local help?”

“They have three, a Derf gardener who is doing a lot of their landscaping in native plants. They have a Derf handyman who is familiar with Derf construction and electrical systems, and a Derfhome born human who is interesting. He is supposed to help them with Derf and English usage, how to deal with the differences between Clan and city Derf, aspects of human culture here that differ from the Earth Humans, and make sure they don’t get taken advantage of in dealing with local merchants for things like groceries. He said that in Derf he is called a local expert, and in Badger he is a facilitator, and in English he’s a cultural advisor, but said Gofer would be closer to the truth. Somebody who runs errands and just does whatever is needed.”

“You’ve met this person?” the First Mother asked.

“They use the same staples grocer we do. I was going over standing orders and negotiating with them over spices and happened to be there at the same time.”

“I’m too many years older to believe in coincidence,” the First Mother said.

“Well, I was interested in who works for them, and it didn’t take any extraordinary effort to be there at the same time, but thinking the Human would be more interesting was an error. He’s a bit beyond my ability to understand deeply, because he seems a mish-mash of cultures. I mean… the man tells dirty jokes in Derf that embarrass me. I did give him my comm code and said the embassy and Talker were of special importance to us, and if he ever needed to, feel free to call. He just said that he knew that and thanked me. I don’t think I’ll ever get any inside information from him.”

“Fascinating,” the First Mother said, propping her chin in a true hand. “I had no idea you had this inclination to dabble in spy craft. What of the Derf employees? Have you contrived to meet either of them? If they are town Derf with no Clan loyalties are they given to talking too freely? Have you thought or planned on this?”

“That would seem unfriendly to me, if they ever found out. I’d rather, as I said, have our own people in there, but the Badgers already have a reputation for paying well and being easy going. I doubt either of them will leave voluntarily on their own any time soon. But if we hear they decide they need more help I’d sure like to send one of our own to apply.” The way the Third Mother was looking at them made it a question.

“I have no objection to that. Do you?” the First Mother asked the Second.

“Certainly not, I wish I’d thought of it first.” The Second Mother said.

“Do however, tell us if you supply them with such an employee,” the First Mother insisted. “I wouldn’t give them any special instructions about being observant or reporting back to you. Otherwise they are liable to expose themselves by displaying too much interest in things by simple guile. It’s not like we have any trained spies to send. Just make sure you send them a very bright young person and allow loyalty and native intelligence to motivate them to inform us if they hear something we should know. An occasional neutral inquiry if they are still happy in the position should be more than enough to trigger them to discuss it if they have seen anything irregular. Even that shouldn’t be repeated too often or too regularly, lest they think you are fishing for something.”

The Third Mother smiled and assumed the same chin in hand pose to tease the First Mum. She could only do that because they both liked each other. “Neither did I ever think you’d ever have such detailed advice for me on how to handle an agent.”

“I’ll be another fifty years teaching you all the hats you’ll need to wear before you even get stuck with being Second,” she warned.

“I’ve given up planning much of anything about my life until we see if Gordon and Lee get this life extension tech they are talking about to work for Derf,” the Third Mother said. “I suspect that would turn our world upside down in ways I can’t predict.”

The other Mothers said nothing. It was horrible having something they both wanted and dreaded so badly at the same time.

22 Responses to A snippet of Family Law 5

  1. Cheryl September 23, 2018 at 12:17 pm #

    Oooh sounds wonderful. Can’t wait

  2. Samuel September 23, 2018 at 1:07 pm #

    Lovely snippet, looking forward to the book whenever it arrives.

  3. Big Ben September 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm #

    Looking forward to the continuing adventures of Lee, Gordon and crew.
    One thing I’m kinda curious about is Providence. Lee makes a few references to it in different books, but I’m curious how things are going there considering the ongoing conflicts with Earth and now the chaos in the Claims Commission system.

    You do show the workings of Red Tree and Derfhome as with this snippet, yet there’s been nothing mentioned about the proposed Derf settlement on Providence. Something for Madonna to tackle, perhaps?

    If Lee really told the Earthies to go stuff it I would think that one thing some nutso Earth government would try would be to claim the entire planet by eminent domain or something. Heck, why not name Lee and Gordon Enemies of the People and try to seize it as spoils of war?
    Not saying it would be a smart thing to do, or that it would work now that April and her bunch are in the picture, but depriving an enemy of resources and funds seems like a no brainer to folks with no brains to consider possible consequences.

    • Mac September 23, 2018 at 8:22 pm #

      The funny thing is I had a reader recently complain that I depict the Earth governments as doing stupid crazy things and she was upset I never show them learning and improving. It IS fiction but I’ve read too much history to expect my readers to believe that could happen.

      • Jim September 23, 2018 at 11:43 pm #

        Mac, thanks for both recent snippets! And I find myself forced to agree with your own comment that while it IS fiction, depicting the Earth governments learning and improving would, I fear, be a stretch too far, even for science fiction genre stories.

        • Kevin September 27, 2018 at 8:31 pm #

          I agree. It’s my favourite part and most real.

      • Mike Morrow October 3, 2018 at 6:32 pm #

        As far as earth governments go it sure seems that doing stupid crap is a one way ratchet. I tend to think your portrayal of government nonsense is spot on.

  4. Sam September 24, 2018 at 1:15 am #

    Love the snippets!
    I know a few other authors that post them monthly for,their new books and love them.
    Keeps your dedicated readers down in and looking forward to the new releases.
    Keep up the great work!

  5. Ben September 24, 2018 at 9:22 am #

    New reader here who is just getting caught up on both series. A couple of questions:

    1) Was Gordon named for science fiction author Gordon R. Dickson?

    2) In Family Law #3, chapter 27, Lee is given a history book by Paddington. Should that name have been Penningtion?

    Thanks for writing some fun books.

    • Mac September 24, 2018 at 11:27 am #

      1) No I just type what comes to mind most of the time.
      2) It should have been Pennington not Penningtion or Paddington, and I will edit it today. That’s one nice thing about Amazon that you can edit it.

  6. Terry Dean September 24, 2018 at 10:36 am #

    Love the snippets. And I would also like to see how events unfold on Providence. It seems to me that that world is well positioned to benefit from the future commercial interactions with Badger space as well as the brown dwarf mines. However, it would need a space station (like the one on Far Away) and a decent shipyard to benefit most.

    Derfhome could use them too.

  7. Buz O. September 24, 2018 at 4:30 pm #


    So would Lee, as a clan daughter, be considered a “soft agent” ? She does have a pretty special relationship with both the Badgers & the Bills, besides being an actual human ( even if she considers herself a Derf)

  8. Jerry September 26, 2018 at 5:14 pm #

    I suspect the mothers do not entirely trust Lee. She is a human and adopted. Sending her to negotiate a treaty was OK because it was her idea. Given her obvious friendship with Talker I doubt she would betray a confidence.

    Still wondering what happened to the two gravity plates, especially the Caterpillar one. Also the atomic separator. Seems like these should have been turned over to an engineering firm or the University for study.

  9. Kevin September 27, 2018 at 8:38 pm #

    On a side note I read many readers said the do kindle unlimited and buy book to give added support too Mackey Chandler. I read an article about how Kindle Unlimited works. Said if you do this need to wait about 30 days to count as both. Don’t know if true, but I thought of this site because many said they do.

    • Jennifer October 1, 2018 at 7:12 pm #

      Thanks for the info. I’ll keep this in mind for future books.

  10. Rune October 3, 2018 at 6:47 pm #

    Have been waiting for this Fifth book.
    You do a damn fine job at writing believable Sci-Fi

    • Mac October 3, 2018 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks – 11.7k words on FL#5. Pretty much done with the stand alone.

      • Kevin October 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm #

        On the stand alone… are taking days or weeks. My Bday is the 8th hope….?

        • Mac October 5, 2018 at 9:21 pm #

          Might get it out this year. 8th of what?

  11. Kevin October 6, 2018 at 12:13 pm #


  12. Terry Dean June 28, 2019 at 11:15 am #

    Okay, something just struck me. Why is Third Mother at a staples grocer on another continent? Derfhome City and the embassy is on another continent from Red Tree Clan as established in several books.

    It always bugged me that the clan banked in Derfhome even before the humans came. Considering the transportation issues, why bank on another continent?

    • Mac July 7, 2019 at 8:11 am #

      No real city on their’s? Author is senile? Fishtown needs some serious expansion.

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